Photo courtesy of Allison Cooper

Knowing My Daughter Is My Last Baby Is The Scariest & Most Liberating Feeling

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The day that we brought our second child, Blake, home from the hospital was one of the happiest days of our life. We lived in New York City at the time and only a few blocks away from the hospital where I delivered her, so my husband strapped on our Baby Bjorn and carried her home like a little kangaroo joey. We walked into our apartment where our older son was waiting for us with my aunt, and spent those first moments at home doting on our sweet little girl, not realizing at the time that she would be our last baby. We were so in love and every single one of us was on cloud nine.

In the weeks that followed, things seemed perfect and, dare I say, easy? Things just flowed in the perfect sequence as our family was getting into the groove of being a family of four. Everything felt so right within the very cells of our being, so much so that we even found ourselves toying with the idea of having another baby right away. I guess this is what happens when you’re lost in a cloud of happiness.

Then my husband went back to work and I began the transition into a full-time work-from-home mom with not only an 8-year-old at the time to get to and from the bus stop each day, pack lunches for, manage homework and baths and be present for, but a newborn, too. It was pretty great at first because nothing made me feel higher than having almost every day push me to my limit, be filled with non-stop busyness, but, most of all, leave me feeling like super mom. I loved it and relished in the everyday. I felt like a rockstar. But as things always do, they shifted, and some days got more overwhelming and some days even felt too overwhelming.

Photo courtesy of Allison Cooper

I started neglecting myself. My husband and I had very little time for one another and things started feeling off. I admittedly became pretty obsessed with losing the last of the baby weight and struggled with not only self-care but body positivity. I had trouble looking myself in the mirror and loving what I saw staring back at me.

Yes, it was difficult to digest that this would be our last baby. The last of the cooing and first steps and newborn smells.

Don’t get me wrong: I still loved everything about the ups and down of living life each day with this perfect little family of mine. We eventually found our groove again, but at that point, it was time to have the big “we’re not having anymore kids” discussion. The perfection balloon had popped and it was time to get real.

It was a tough conversation to have, especially as I held our sleeping baby in my arms. I will admit though that relief was the emotion that filled me up in this moment, knowing that my husband and I were on the same page. Yes, it was difficult to digest that this would be our last baby. The last of the cooing and first steps and newborn smells. The last with the potty training and all the new things that comes with having a little one. But I also knew that this would open so many doors for our family and even though it scared me to make this choice, I’ve also never felt so liberated in my life.

Feeling good about this decision, didn’t come without guilt, though. And lots of it. How could I not feel guilt? We would be depriving our daughter of ever being an older sister. I felt bad that our family would be smaller than the one that I grew up in as the oldest of four. I ran through scenarios of big Christmases and Thanksgivings and giggles with all of your siblings. Were we taking that from our children? It realized it was a scarier decision to make than I have originally thought.

We would be able to have more adventures and vacations (because, ahem, they are expensive), more family outings, more sports and activities for the kids to be a part of, and not struggle to put our kids through college.

Instead of focusing on all those negative mom-guilt vibes though, I decided to look towards the future and what this decision would lead us to gain. We would be able to have more adventures and vacations (because, ahem, they are expensive), more family outings, more sports and activities for the kids to be a part of, and not struggle to put our kids through college. My husband and I would be able to focus the next chapter of our lives on us and our relationship. I could almost taste the date nights, and having that to look forward to was enough to know this was the right choice.

I know that my love for babies will never end, and I have come to call myself the official baby holder of all my friends and families with little ones. I breathe them in. I rock them. I snuggle them. I will even babysit them. But at the end of the day, I give them back to their mom and dad and proceed to have a restful night’s sleep, knowing this is what I need right now in my life.

This first-time mom wants to have a home birth, but is she ready? Watch how a doula supports a military mom who's determined to have a home birth in Episode One of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for the next three episodes, launching every Monday starting November 26.

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